You've found an affiliate product to promote, you've been accepted into the program, and you're ready to jump in headfirst. Where should you start?
Build an email list!
Affiliate marketing is about sales, and email is the best way to turn trust into sales. That means getting all of your email bells and whistles together as early as possible.
For every affiliate marketer, there are hundreds more pushing the same products, and trying to attract the same audience. Success is determined by how you reach your target audience, how you build unbreakable trust with them, and how victorious you are at converting them.
In any form of business, email campaigns are the key to building an audience that sticks with you. They're the key to finding a tribe that thinks of you as soon as they're ready to make a purchase. That leaves the big question: how do you build and nurture an email list specifically for affiliate marketing?
We'll go over a few proven steps to build an email list to promote your affiliate offers and grow relationships from scratch.
Why Do I Need an Email List?
Though there are tons that you can research and learn from, there's one study you should definitely know about. This specific research was done by eConsultancy in 2016. They interviewed companies and asked what types of marketing worked best for them, and which gave them the best ROI.
Most saw the best ROI from email marketing campaigns. They ranked it even higher than SEO and social media for promoting growth at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable time frame.
Here's the long and short of it: an email list gives you direct access to your subscribers and control over your voice. Your subscribers have signed up to hear from you, want to read your emails, and trust your voice. Email marketing, when done correctly, gives you an easy way to build trust and a direct line to your audience.
And, let's face it, there's nothing like an audience of leads.
Where Do I Set Up My Email List?
What are your goals?
There are so many different email marketing services that this is a personal preference. Something like Mailchimp is quick and straightforward with easy set-up, and it's free up to 10,000 subscribers. A service like ActiveCampaign allows you to create complicated email automation, tags, and workflows if you're going to run more advanced campaigns, but it will cost you more.
Email marketing includes a lot of trial and error. Pick the service that works best for you and offers detailed analytics, a variety of campaign types, A/B testing, and any other tools you need to reach your goal.
Once you've picked your email marketing software, make an account, and set up your first campaigns. You should create signup forms to grab as many emails as possible. These can be done via pop-ups or embedded forms and should integrate your site with your email marketing service (if available).
What Types of Campaigns Should I Run?
The campaign you run will also depend on what your goals are for your email marketing campaigns.
As with any type of marketing, you should set specific goals and guidelines for each of your email campaigns. What are you looking to achieve? More eyes on your content? More purchases, a place to distribute sale information, etc.?
While the goal of affiliate marketing is always sales, there are plenty of ways to get there. The best email campaigns for affiliate marketers are:
- Drip campaigns
- Welcome email series
- Downloads and ebooks (lead magnets)
- Product reviews and overviews
- News and announcements from affiliates
How Do I Gain Subscribers?
First things first: you do NOT gain subscribers by buying email lists. I repeat, you do not gain subscribers by purchasing email lists!
There are steep and heavy penalties from Google as well as international laws like GDPR that should deter you from buying lists. It's not as simple as sending mass emails without permission. Buying lists in this day and age will set you up for hefty fines that could tank your business.
Buying lists can also create tense situations between you and your email marketing software—fines aside. Your email address could be greylisted due to too many bounced or spammed emails. Keep that up, and your entire email account could be banned.
It not only can ruin your reputation, but you also waste a lot of time and effort talking to people who are not interested in your products.
Permission-based email marketing is the only way to go.
What Type of Content Should I Make for Subscribers?
Exclusive content will attract more subscribers. A great way to build is to tease exclusive emails that will benefit subscribers in some way. This should be high-level content that can't be accessed without subscribing to your list.
Most affiliate marketers make money through affiliate link clicks on their websites, blogs, and social media. You can put your affiliate links virtually anywhere on your site, especially with a plugin like Pretty Links that helps you maintain affiliate links (and keep them pretty).
When it comes to the content you create to promote and house your links, affiliate marketing is about building trust, and your content should reflect that.
Send emails that amplify your current or recent content, especially content that includes affiliate links to keep your emails in line with your goals. Teach your audience to do things, give them your opinion on products and services, and show off your personality. Once you've gained trust, you can send emails that promote your affiliate partners directly.
The more personality your content has, the more likely your audience is to open it. Excellent content comes in many forms, including:
- Exclusive content (downloads, ebooks, and guides)
- Exclusive sales
- Stories and personal anecdotes
- Updates and interesting facts
- Non-salesy newsletters
- Blog announcements
- Automated emails for abandoned carts
- Seasonal promotions
Always soft sell, and remember to focus most of your campaign on building trust. Don't just build trust for you—you want your audience to trust your affiliate partners as well. Build your content around boosting their messages, products, and ideals.
Lead magnets are your friend in affiliate marketing! Teach your readers how to do what you do (or what you wish you could do), and they'll bond with you. Offering downloads that fit your audience's needs (for instance, a Quick Guide to Setting up Tents for outdoor fanatics) is an easy way to collect emails.
How Do I Get the Most Out of Email Marketing?
Stay on top of the performance of your emails!
You must adjust your campaigns when they're unsuccessful. Something as small as an uninspired subject and preview text could cause subscribers to skip your emails. To ensure maximum ROI, be mindful of the following things:
Understand Your Audience
Your content should engage readers in a way that is personal and unique to their goals. Make blog posts, videos, infographics, etc. your specific audience needs so they find value in your words. Create and share content that hits the right pain points and then consistently deliver it. Once you've built trust and nurture it, readers are fine with getting hard sales for your affiliate products.
Build Trust and Keep Delivering It
The golden rule: be helpful, not annoying.
Optimize Your Emails
Create workflows and segment your emails as much as possible. Test your emails for subjects that get the most opens. If you have the option, make multiple workflows that cover different aspects of your audience, which account for growth.
Stay on top of the performance of your email campaigns and adjust accordingly.
Keep the conversation going by making it easy for your audience to share and promote your work. Add a compelling call-to-action where appropriate. People love exclusive content, so try to fill your emails with personable information that they can't find anywhere else.
Keep it Simple
No one wants to open an email and be bombarded with a dry 4000-word essay. Keep your email design and copy simple. If you can direct your audience to a longer blog post or web page, that works, too!
Make The Goal Clear
Your calls-to-action should be impeccable in an email. Make it easy for readers to click through and perform the action you want. Don't hide buttons in the design or ramble on about a bunch of points. Keep it skimmable and within the expectations of your audience.
Link to content that aligns with the message in your emails. If you include your affiliate links in emails, make sure it's to a segment of your email list that already trusts you.
In Conclusion – Keep on Building!
If you want to build a powerful email list:
- Make content that fits your audience
- Understand your audience
- Build trust and keep delivering it
- Optimize your emails
- Stay engaging
- Keep it simple
- Make the goal clear
Never stop lassoing people into your email list.
Email campaigns can be a lot of work in the beginning, but they directly integrate your overall content marketing blueprint. Follow our tips and build a reliable and robust list of subscribers that are ready and willing to click through!
Do you have any radically successful email tricks? Comment below to teach us a thing or two.